Having recently had multiple encounters with diverse sets of denominational church leaders, I’ve heard an interesting proposition more than once.
The proposition is this:
“If we could just have more cross-congregational church services/meetings/gatherings, we would have better unity.”
I cringe when I hear that. Not because striving towards unity is a bad thing, but when the path to unity starts with the meeting, church service, or gathering, then I think its trajectory is skewed from the beginning. From my perspective as a missionary, and admittedly I might not be as objective as I can, I think that mission is the better path to unity.
Unite in the furtherance of the gospel. Unite in the suffering and needs of those who aren’t congregating. Unite in the Making of Disciples. Unite in the work of mission.
Paul tells the Philippians;
“make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” (Philippians 2:2)
I suppose there is some discussion needed to decide what that ‘one purpose’ is, but I’d venture to say that it is NOT CHURCH SERVICES. It might, and I stress ‘might’ not be mission either. But if neither of those, then what is it? What ever it is, there are paths to get there, and some are better than others.
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Romans 12:1
Which is the better path to church unity? Meetings, Mission, or Something else?
Coming soon on in December!
Check out this book for more on Church and Unity: